Get a piece of paper and a die – Go on, I’ll wait.
Ready? Now write down six of the most generic words you can think of and number them one to six. Now roll the die and write down the word that corresponds to that number. Do it about five or six times. Stick a colon in there somewhere, or a hyphen, both if you’re feeling adventurous. Now look at the result. It’s a better name for a game than Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, isn’t it? Yes, I thought so.
During the closing stages of World War II, with Allied forces breathing down his neck and Eva Braun telling him to hang the washing out, Hitler decided on the only remaining sensible option. Following in the footsteps of history’s greatest generals, he threw caution to the wind and summoned a mighty horde of the undead to bolster the ranks of his armies.
Admittedly, I suspect Rebellion’s take on the end of the war might not be entirely accurate. I don’t remember zombie nazis being on the History Channel, but I am prepared to give them a little leeway given that my knowledge of history is now completely warped by too many games of Total War and Civ IV. I remember the great Selucid empire that stretched across Europe, I remember Ghandi being a war-mongering bastard, but I don’t remember zombies. Regardless, this is Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, zombies have occurred, and it’s up to you to make the un-dead re-dead.
One of the biggest criticisms of Sniper Elite was its rudimentary AI. It’s a problem that’s been circumvented entirely in Sniping Elite Zombie Nazis by making your only enemy the mindless dead, but by removing the thinking enemies from the game, they’ve also removed most of the thinking. You can forget sneaking around hiding from enemy patrols, you can forget laying traps for your enemies, and you can pretty much forget about sniping. In Zombie Elite Nazi Sniper, Rebellion have finally achieved their dream of making a sniper game with absolutely nothing to do with sniping.
Sniper Elite 2 was a game based on sneaking behind enemy lines and carefully lining up shots, before settling down to watch your little piece of lead stroll casually across the landscape to end up in someone’s liver. Elite Nasty Zombies on the other hand is almost the exact opposite. For most of the game, the dead will not even emerge from the ground until you’re right on top of them, rendering the sniper rifle draped over your shoulder completely useless. You soon become the ‘other’ kind of sniper. You know, the one that runs around at street level wielding a shotgun.
Billed as a standalone spinoff to Sniper Elite 2, don’t expect the game to take itself too seriously. Wearing its Left 4 Dead inspirations quite openly on its sleeve, Barmy Nazi Zombies is not afraid to take everything that made its predecessor great and, well, do it again. You’ll spend the majority of the game moving from safe house to safe house, your trip punctuated by the occasional overwhelming horde that forces you to bunker down for a timed encounter. Within minutes the pattern will become clear to you, and with a creeping dread you’ll realise that’s all the game has to offer. Move to the safe house, fight off a horde. Move to the safe house, fight off a horde. Whilst the game can be enjoyable with friends (in-so-far as any game can be enjoyable with a friend), taken as a single-player experience you’ll be sick of the repetitive pattern within minutes.
In truth, you’ll probably tire of Sniper Elite: Zombie Nazi Zombies long before finishing it. A limited variety of enemy types, linear levels and structure mean after only a few minutes you’ve seen pretty much everything the game has to offer. Although it can be fun with a couple of friends, if you’re after zombie-killing co-op, you’d be better off sticking with Left 4 Dead.
Verdict – Off target
Platforms Available – PC
Platform Reviewed – PC
Review based on a copy provided by the publisher
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